Buying a John Lewis Mattress? 6 Things You Need To Know

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A John Lewis mattress ranges from about £100 to £8000 for a double (when I checked).

But what’s the difference between their cheapest and most expensive mattress? What should you look for in a John Lewis mattress? And how many more rhetorical questions will I ask before I get to the point?

 1. Understand the John Lewis mattress brand​s

Mattresses sold at John Lewis & Partners can be split into four main categories:

John Lewis Natural Collection 

This range is made by a British mattress company called Harrison Spinks which won best manufacturer at the 2018 National Bed Federation Awards. It is no doubt described as ‘The Oscars of the Mattress World’ by the public relations people. Prices from about £500 to £4000 for a king size. It also featured in a BBC TV series called ‘Inside The Factory’ with that enthusiastic bald headed guy from Masterchef. The company also has a Manufacturing Guild Award which is a good sign of quality.

House by John Lewis

This is John Lewis’ budget range of mattresses. They cost about £200 for a king size when I checked. As a (very) general rule, you get what you pay for with a mattress so this is one to consider if you don’t have hundreds of pounds for a mattress stuffed under the, er, mattress or perhaps if you want a guest bed mattress. These usually come with a shorter warranty than the more expensive mattresses.

Foam mattresses made by trendy new brands

These are called things like Simba and Emma. Most of these come with a 100 night or 200 night trial, so you can return it if you don’t like it. Instead of springs, these use a combination of different types of foams and generally cost somewhere around £500 – £700 for a king size. 

Mattresses made by traditional and posh brands like Vispring, Hypnos, Dunlopillo and Tempur:

  • Vispring invented the pocket spring mattress more than 100 years ago and have remained one of the big names ever since. Warranties can be as long as 30 years. King size prices range from about £1000 to £5000.
  • Hypnos make beds for the British Royal Family and have won awards recently at the National Bed Federation Awards. About £1000 to £2500 for a king size.
  • Tempur were pioneers in memory foam mattresses after taking inspiration from NASA. About £1500 to £2500 for a king size mattress.​

 2. Check the John Lewis mattress specification

I’m a fan of the John Lewis & Partners website because their specifications give a lot more detail than pretty much every other mattress retailer online. For nerds like me, this is useful information which explains what you are getting for your money, rather than the usual marketing waffle offered by an eager copywriter.

Things to look for in the specification section on a John Lewis mattress include:

  • Depth: look for a mattress which is deep (in terms of size rather than emotionally). Deeper mattresses usually offer more comfort and provide more support than thin mattresses. They also cost more because they use more materials. 21cm+ is a good sign although it’s a bigger deal if you are a heavy person.
  • Hand Size Stitching: this is the posher way of putting a mattress together and makes it stronger at the edges. Cheaper mattresses use machines instead of human beings. One day the machines will take over and we shall bow down before them. Until then we can say that human beings do a better job.
  • Mattress turn: as a general rule, posher mattresses can be turned over so that you don’t get as many unpleasant saggy bits over time (an issue we all have to face). Cheap mattresses put the good quality stuff on the top and cheap stuff on the bottom. The exception is where a mattress has a topper as you can’t turn it over because the topper will end up on the bottom.
  • Spring count: generally, a more expensive mattress has more springs. For lighter people, 1000 springs on a king size mattress provides adequate support whilst heavier people will benefit from a number closer to 2000. Where you see massive numbers (such as 5000 springs) there is more than one layer of springs. Take a look at the number of larger springs, as the smaller springs are just for a bit of extra comfort. Just to confuse you, the advertised number of springs always refers to a king size mattress but you can also find the actual number of springs in the John Lewis & Partners descriptions.​

3. Check the John Lewis mattress firmness scale

There’s no industry-wide agreement on what different mattress tensions mean, which creates a lot of, er, tension for the shopper.

But let’s raise a metaphorical glass to John Lewis & Partners who actually bother to tell you what they mean when they say that a mattress is ‘soft’ ‘medium’ or ‘firm’.

They recommend a:

  • soft mattress for anyone who weighs under 8 stone
  • medium mattress for people who weigh 8 – 16 stone
  • firm mattress for people who weigh more than 16 stone

I assume these guidelines just relate to mattresses they sell with their name on, rather than third party mattresses.

**Search John Lewis ​soft mattresses**

**Search John Lewis ​medium mattresses**

**Search John Lewis firm mattresses**

4. Rummage through the John Lewis & Partners ‘reduced to clear’ mattress section

John Lewis & Partners don’t generally do cheesy site-wide discounts (e.g. “50% off everything and DOUBLE discounts this SUPERSIZED bank holiday weekend! Must end Monday!”). However, they do have a reduced to clear section where there are a modest range of bargains to be had.

When I checked the John Lewis & Partners reduced to clear mattresses section there were about a dozen mattresses reduced by about 20%, including some really good deals.

Unlike some retailers, the discounts seem to be genuine rather than putting the prices up and then offering everything at a massive reduction to trick you into thinking you’re getting a good deal…

John Lewis & Partners also sometimes offer deals such as 20% off a big choice of mattresses for Black Friday or Boxing Day sales.

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Woman sleeping on bed
Search John Lewis reduced to clear mattress section
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5. Call ahead if you want a try a mattress instore

This may be obvious, but John Lewis & Partners don’t display every mattress in their stores so it’s worth checking if they actually have the one you want to try out.

When I checked, they were offering 119 different king size mattresses, so they won’t be able to display them all. 

6. Check which John Lewis mattresses have a trial period

In 2021, John Lewis & Partners introduced a ’60 Night Comfort Trial’ with most of its own brand collection of mattresses. Some of the cheaper mattresses are excluded but it’s available with most of the mid-priced and posher ones. My hunch is that this was in response to a number of mattresses introducing home trial periods in recent years and the recent challenges of getting to a store.

Reading the smallprint is key with a mattress trial. In the case of the John Lewis & Partners 60 Night Home Comfort Trial you need to ‘purchase a mattress protector in the same transaction as your original mattress’ and pay a collection fee if you don’t like it (about £30 at the time of writing). You can then make an exchange for a different mattress but ‘full refunds are not accepted unless faulty’.

The good news

On the one hand, this is a very good thing for the purchaser as spending £1000+ on a high quality mattress from John Lewis & Partners is a big step if it turns out to be too firm or too soft for you. Several big name brands don’t offer any trial period at all. In the last few years, we’ve seen lots of newer brands offering trials on their foam mattresses but most pocket spring mattresses still require a trip to a shop or require a bit of a risk if you’re buying online.

However, it’s also worth saying that the trial period offered by several other mattress brands is better than that offered by John Lewis & Partners. For example, Brook + WildeEmma and Nectar Sleep offer 100, 200 and 365 nights respectively. Also, those mattress brands will pick it up for free and give you a refund if you aren’t happy. There are terms and conditions to such things but it is certainly appealing if you’re buying online.

Graph showing John Lewis trial period compared to other mattress brands
John Lewis & Partners’ trial period isn’t as long as that offered by some mattress brands